Servant x Service – 12

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Chihaya is takes three days off to make clothes, including Yamagami’s dress for her date with Hasebe. By the end of the stretch she’s exhausted, but Ichimiya takes care of her. The day of Hasebe and Yamagami’s date arrives, and he is smitten by her outfit. He takes her to a used bookstore she’s never heard of and a restaurant, but he’s called away by family business, so Yamagami suggests they have another date at a later time.The next day Hasebe is out of sorts, and when Chihaya, Miyoshi and Ichimiya ask him what’s up, he tells them the one who approved Yamagami’s name is his father.

It’s finally date time! And it went…fine. Other than ending early due to Hasebe’s family meeting Kaoru’s fiancee, things go off without a hitch. It’s a real shock to see Lucy not only wearing a dress and heels, but not wearing glasses; in any case she’s positively adorable, as we knew she would be. This isn’t a comedy of errors: this may Yamagami’s first date, but she’s an adult, and she acts like one throughout…mostly. Her only wig-out is when she’s overthinking things regarding Hasebe holding her bag. Hasebe pretty much a perfect gentleman, taking care of her at every turn. And in the end, they agree to do it again. Progress! Development!…in a slice-of-life! Good stuff.

Speaking of progress, Chihaya didn’t really make any in her mission to tell Touko that she’s dating her brother, though she does learn that Touko wouldnt mind her brother having a girlfriend, and that she’s studying and working hard to get out of her brother’s way. We also appreciate that Chihaya doesn’t do anything to sabotage the date – she even retreats with Touko when Lucy and Hasebe end up at the same cafe. She does warn Lucy to be on her guard, still convinced Hasebe is messing with her. But Hasebe acts exactly like Chihaya’s ideal of a decent man, and Lucy learns he’s serious about liking her. The only hurdle that remains is the rather unfortunate fact that Hasebe’s dad is the one Yamagami wants to punch…

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • We’re glad Ichimiya disobeyed orders to stay away and check in on Chihaya. Their scene together is very cute, especially when she tries to get something going, only to fall asleep on him (though he does have to spend the night because of this.)
  • If you’re on a date with a bookish girl like Yamagami, you’d better damn well take that girl to an awesome used bookstore she didn’t know about.
  • To her credit, when Hasebe suddenly takes Yamagami’s hand, she doesn’t go all spastic and panicky, but hears him out.
  • We hope the fact Hasebe’s dad allowed Yamagami’s name doesn’t make her hate or reject Hasebe. But he should tell her.
  • After having her shirt lifted up last week, Yamagami is on her guard next to Chihaya during the final episode preview.
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Servant x Service – 08

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Hasebe takes Yamagami out to dinner, where she details her goal to complain to the civil servant who allowed her name. The next day, Tanaka, waiting outside the office, also invites her out to eat at the same restaurant. There, he complains about Hasebe and never being able to beat him, but thinks he can beat him by going out with her, the girl he’s hitting on. Hasebe rescues Yamagami. The next day his behavior has changed slightly. When asked by Yamagami what she can do to repay him for all his help, he asks that she go on a date, neutralizing Chihaya by assigning her to put Yamagami’s outfit together.

More and more, Hasebe and Yamagami are starting to remind me of a slightly older Takanashi and Inami from Working!!. Yamagami isn’t afraid of men, but she is afraid of going out on a date or wearing a skirt, and has never even given either much thought. While we’re not sure about the latter fear, the former is due to her long name, which she feels would make dating someone impossible. But she’s gradually warming up to Hasebe, and Hasebe, who initially hit on her as a joke, is really starting to like her the more time he spends on her, which is affecting his work.

While Yamagami’s name haunts her (and she’s too deferential to her nice parents to have it changed), Hasebe’s past and potential haunts him. Tanaka is a remnant from that past, who saw the greatness and laments that it was never harnessed. But like Yamagami is content to buy and read books (only leaving enough money to buy the most utilitarian of food), Hasebe is content to sail through life on a breeze of ease…at least up to this point. Now he has a goal, and a laudable one: to date Yamagami. That’s not something that can be achieved easily, but he’s still pursuing it.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Yamagami is able to enjoy a beer (or at least part of one) without passing out  and waking up next to a female version of Hasebe. Progress!
  • Tanaka knocks back like six bottles of red wine, and is still able to hobble home. Though he’s kind of a mean drunk.
  • Chihaya was ready to shut Hasebe down, but he was saved by his quick thinking: making his date an opportunity for her to dress Yamagami up.

Servant x Service – 07

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In the first half, Chihaya plays and wins games against Touko and dresses her up in a cosplay outfit. Chihaya is frustrated with the lack of progress in her relationship with Ichimiya, and he apologizes for not knowing why she’s mad. In the second half, Miyoshi meet’s Tanaka’s grandson, who is very upright and seems very responible, but is also obsessed with Hasebe. Yamagami learns a little bit about Hasebe’s past with Tanaka, but he stops short of the whole story.

The more the characters of SxS interact, the more we learn about them as people. Touko’s friend Kanon stands in for us as fourth-party observer of the dynamic between Touko, her brother, and Chihaya (who Kanon instantly picks up as being Ichimiya’s girlfriend.) As she watches Chihaya, she initially suspects she’s just using Touko, but when she asks her straight-up, she learns that Chihaya actually likes both of the Ichimiyas.

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It’s also been established that Chihaya is an exceedingly patient girlfriend, as Hasebe is an exceedingly timid boyfriend. They seem to have little or no physical contact with one another; he recoils when she makes an advance on him when the two are alone. Seriously, why bother having an interoffice relationship if you can’t have some fun in a storage room? We realize Japanese romances can sometimes be quite formal and conservative, but something’s gotta give here.

That brings us to Miyoshi’s Tanaka Situation, which also just got more complicated. We like how Tanaka’s personality is unveiled only a little bit at a time. Like Kanon with Chihaya and Touko, Miyoshi observes Tanaka’s behavior (as does Lucy) and her take on him evolves accordingly. As for our take, the show made it fairly clear that he may have a flame burning for Hasebe (though the BL angle is Chihaya’s). He certainly doesn’t seem that interested in Miyoshi.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Touko is terrible at games, from Old Maid to Jenga, Othello, and Life.
  • On the Hasebe+Lucy front, Lucy likes learning more about Hasebe, but turns down dinner, not because she doesn’t want to, but because it isn’t payday yet. So practical!
  • Tanaka’s grandson bears a passing resemblance to Tsubaki Sasuke from Sket  Dance.

 

Servant x Service – 05

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Yamagami wakes up in bed with a girl who turns out to be Hasebe’s sister Kaoru, who is also an easy-.going civil servant and also loves to mess with people. When Yamagami stops by Kaoru’s the next day to thank her, she takes her to her brother’s place, which is awkward. Back at the office, Ichimiya warns Hasebe of the perils of dating co-workers. Chihaya lets fly that she and Ichimiya are dating, but passes it off as a joke to cure Yamagami of her hiccups. Chihaya arranges for Miyoshi to occupy Touko while she and Ichimiya discuss their relationship. Touko returns early, adding to Taishi’s stress.

Those who were thinking Hasebe would stoop to getting a room at a love hotel with a passed-out Lucy were soundly rebuked, as he – as Megumi puts it, “acts like a human being.” Still, it’s clear Miss Cowlick won’t be drinking any alcohol anytime soon. He takes her to his sister’s place instead, but her sister, like all the Hasebes, can’t quite help themselves when presented with a mark as easy as Lucy. Kaoru also gets the feeling her brother cares about this mark, and so gets them together on Sunday, hoping the resulting awkwardness will be entertaining, and it is. But with all this discussion about Yamagami and Hasebe as a prospective couple, there’s been a real and long-lasting couple hiding in plain sight: Chihaya and Ichimiya.

It’s a bit out of left field, though if we were to go back and watch all their past interactions in the office, we’d probably find slight clues here and there of the fact they’re a couple, albeit one that doesn’t make it public knowledge at their workplace. For her part, Chihaya is a good sport, willing to be with Ichimiya despite his self-confidence problems and his horror of a little sister. She doesn’t come right out and list the reasons she dates him – and has dated him for a year-plus. But she does have her reasons. For what is worth, we like them as a couple, if for no other reason than it has neither the predatory air of Hasebe’s pursuit of Yamagami nor Touko’s bro-con tediousness.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Yamagami seems to have a closet consisting of nothing but white pants and black turtlenecks. We hope to see this closet at some point to confirm this.
  • Kaoru and Yamagami wait at a metro station with a green circle marked H-07. Thus the city can’t be Tokyo, as H-07 in real life is Hibiya Station on the Hibiya line, which is silver, not green.
  • Enduring Hiccups are a very old comic device, but Yamagami is so cute doing them we don’t mind.
  • Touko’s birthday is Christmas Eve, making it difficult for Ichimiya to keep girlfriends. Talk about a Catch-22…
  • Chihaya loves cosplay, but wearing Touko’s uniform is still pretty darned kinky. We feel like her explanation to Touko shouldn’t have passed muster.
  • That said, that look Chihaya shoots at Touko when she comes in (see above) is pretty great.

Servant x Service – 03

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The hooks on Yamagami’s bra suddenly break. She hopes nobody notices, but everyone does, and Hasebe suggests she go home and rest. When she returns, Hasebe continues his quest to get Yamagami’s email. He follows her to a bookstore, treats her to dinner, distracts a kid for her, lends her a music player in a storm, and offers to teach her sign language. Even when she asks him if there’s anything she can do in return for all his help, he still forgets to ask for her email.

This week we saw a lot less of the non-adult, non-civil servant Touko (though unfortunately she wasn’t totally absent…why does the series feel the need to have her poke her nose in every day?), a lot more sexual harassment by Hasebe, tempered by several kind deeds. Let’s just say this guy is very lucky Yamagami is either uncommonly patient or uncommonly oblivious; come to think of it, she’s a little of both…and her cowlick (ahoge) is a hoot and a half.

Yamagami doesn’t like relying on or owing people, but Hasebe is determined to show her that it’s okay once and a while. In attempting to get her email, he shows up his many and varied skills, proving that he can be highly capable when sufficiently motivated, which is almost never. In fact, most of the skills he’s amassed all serve to make slacking off easier. Still, we’re hoping his lewd comments are kept at a minimum and he learns to talk with Yamagami without bringing up her not un-ample bust.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Servant x Service – 02

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Constantly attracting elderly people who converse with her at great length, Miyoshi has taken to hiding under her desk. Her predicament is put on hold when “Touko-sama” arrives; an abrasive high school girl who coaches the newbies, only to get exacerbated by their quirks. Taishi coaxes Touko off, and the newbies learn she’s his little sister. Chihaya decides to use Touko to train Miyoshi to speak her mind and draw the line with clients. Her words get Touko upset, and Taishi has to shoo her away again, but Miyoshi assures her she’s welcome back (every second or third day) to continue their “counselling.”

After the first episode showed us a lot of clients, there were almost none this week, aside from the tiny old lady who is always rambling to Miyoshi. This was ostensibly to focus on what goes on with the servants in between the stretches of civil drudgery. Or, we should say, instead of them. Chihaya takes the day off and we learn that no only is she an otaku, but their line of work is very otaku-friendly, due to the holidays and such. It’s a neat little detail, and we like how a lot of her suggestions involve dressing up her not unattractive co-workers in cosplay.

As for Yamagami, Miyoshi, Hasebe, and Taishi, a lot of their time is taken up by the imperious Touko, your classic tsundere sister. It doesn’t take long for everyone to notice what Taishi doesn’t: Touko is always hanging around the ward office because she wants to be with Taishi. Her encyclopedic knowledge of welfare code and procedures is both a pretense and side-effect to that. We’ll admit though, we were a little annoyed that a kid showed up to steal time away from the adults, and like Miyoshi, we hope she doesn’t dominate too many more episodes like she did this one.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We’re not familiar with Touko’s seiyu, but does a good job with both sides of Touko; she sounds like a mix of Taketatsu Ayane and Kugimiya Rie.
  • Yamagami seems to have led a sheltered life, at least where video games, manga, anime, and fashion are concerned. Perhaps she dresses plainly (and sees herself as plain) as a possibly subconscious revolt against her space cadet parents who gave her a dozen names.
  • Miyoshi may have started to learn to draw the line, but Hasebe crossed a different one by asking Yamagami to disrobe not once, bit twice. Yeah, it was a joke, in an office environment, there’s another term for it: sexual harrassment. 
  • As for getting Touko’s email? A bit creepy.
  • Another true-to-life office moment: the “random meeting” that Chihaya called. Those do happen!

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